The Atlantis by Giardino (www.atlantisbygiardino.ch), designed by architects Annemarie and Hans Hubacher and Peter Issler, was built in 1970 and is an architectural wonder that has attracted celebrities and discerning travelers from the moment it opened. Their guest list is as impressive as the modern design and includes Sophia Loren, Steve McQueen, Muhammad Ali, Abba, Grace Jones, Elton John, Eric Clapton, and Freddie Mercury, who gave a private performance on the bar’s grand piano.
This urban retreat in Zürich was renovated in 2016 and radiates an atmosphere of splendor in a relaxed, casual environment that is perfect for both business and leisure travelers.
My husband and I have come to think of Zürich as our home in Europe. This year marks the 21st anniversary of our first visit, and we celebrated by staying at the Atlantis by Giardino. Located in the countryside just 15 minutes from downtown Zürich, the hotel, and its welcoming staff became an integral part of our ongoing love affair with this exciting and beautiful part of Switzerland.
During our recent visit, we arrived at the airport from Budapest on SWISS International Airlines and the hotel arranged for a car and driver to pick us up. Cool towels and Champagne were offered the moment we stepped up to the reception desk, and after signing in we were escorted to our Senior Suite. Featuring a separate bedroom and living area, two bathrooms and two balconies, a large writing desk, views of the for est, hiking trails, and goats, we couldn’t believe we were in Zürich.
Included in the room rate is daily buffet breakfast, minibar with nonalcoholic beverages, Wi-Fi, and shuttle service between the hotel and the city. The shuttle (a luxury car, van or SUV) was something we used every day to take us to the Old Town for shopping in the afternoon, or to meet friends for cocktails in the evening. The shuttle service ends around 7 P .M. but Uber in Zürich is affordable and available 24 hours.
We began each day with a workout in the fitness center, then headed for breakfast in the Hide & Seek Restaurant where we would eat outdoors on the terrace overlooking the apple orchard next door and the train station in the distance. Following a hearty meal of yogurt, fruits, homemade breads, and prepared to order omelets, we were ready to explore the city, or relax and rejuvenate at the hotel.
When in Zürich, we like to visit the wonderful museums the city has to offer including the Kunsthaus (www.kunsthaus.ch), which is one of our favorite museums in the world. As soon as we plan what exhibits we want to see, we always purchase a ZürichCARD (www.zuerich.com/en/visit/your-city-travel-pass). With the card, you get free or reduced admission to the majority of Zürich’s museums as well as discounts on a variety of cultural and leisure activities. Also included is unlimited second class travel by bus, train, and cableway in the city of Zürich and surrounding region. Luckily for guests of the Atlantis by Giardino, there is a train station just behind the hotel that is accessible via a short walk. Here you can catch the train to the main station in Zürich, which takes just ten-minutes.
After a day seeing the sites, enjoying a variety of cultural experiences unique to Zürich, or taking a cruise on the lake, we’d head back to the hotel for a swim and alfresco cocktails at the Ocean Bar. The outdoor pool is a Mediterranean dream come true in the heart of Switzerland. Large blocks of natural stone border a wooden deck with clear, heated turquoise water. At 82-feet long, the outdoor pool is an oasis in front of the forest where you can spend time with someone special. Many afternoons, there were just a few people by the pool, and it felt quite private and exclusive.
Our friends often purchase a Day Spa pass that includes a 60-minute treatment (CHF 220 per person) at the dipiù Spa. Afterward, they lounge by the pool where drinks and meals are served throughout the day.
To look your best while in Zürich, try their signature Skin Remodeling System. This innovative skin rejuvenating treatment combines technologies such as ultrasound and various electric therapies in one treatment. It stimulates the collagen production in the lower skin layers, repairs sun damage, reduces wrinkles, tightens, and refines the skin.
If you’re attending a special event, the spa also offers personal training, massage, facials, manicures, pedicures, hair styling, and other unique options, as well as a complete line of dipui cosmetics.
When it comes to dining options at Atlantis by Giardino, the Terrasse at the Hide & Seek restaurant is the perfect place to dine alfresco. Here you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner when the weather is nice. The culinary pièce de résistance at the hotel is Ecco Zürich (www.giardino.ch/#ecco). With two Michelin stars this is an exceptional dining experience for lovers of gourmet food. Of the chef and his team it has been written: “With the precision of a watchmaker and the curiosity of a biologist, Stefan Heilemann and his team indulge their love of all things culinary. They play with textures and temperatures as musicians do with notes off the page.” We couldn’t agree more. The dining room is the epitome of modern elegance with original contemporary art, a one-of-a-kind glass chandelier, and festive floral arrangements that set the tone for the creative cuisine you will be talking about for years to come.
Ecco offers a prix fixe menu of five to nine courses that features the natural flavors of seasonal ingredients that produce the restaurant’s unmistakable, multipleaward winning cuisine. A recent menu included: Norway lobster fried and glazed and served with Chinese cabbage, seaweed, and coriander; Butternut pumpkin with white truffle and crème de Gruyere; Japanese Wagyu beef tenderloin with braised vegetables and cep mushrooms; and Felchlin Grand Cru chocolate with sorrel and Cox’s Orange Pippin apple.
After dinner at either restaurant, you can enjoy a postprandial drink and Habanos and Davidoff cigars in the sanctuary of their club like Cigar Lounge.
If you’ve ever fantasized about living like royalty, this is the place to do it. The Atlantis by Giardino is home to the largest hotel suite in Europe (21,258 square feet). The Royal Residence is truly an over-the-top, one-of-a-kind luxury hotel suite. The three-wing penthouse takes up the entire top floor of the hotel and is surrounded by an outdoor terrace that is perfect for entertaining. As we toured the residence, we imagined what it would be like having an anniversary party or wedding reception here. One thing is for sure, if you host a celebration in these accommodations, your guests will never forget it.
The interior design is a combination of French classical furniture and craftsmanship, Arabian-inspired designs, textures, and colors, and enough marble and gold to make Steve Wynn feel right at home. The ornate furniture and carved coffered ceilings create a mis-en-scene that is right out of a Hollywood movie.
To help make your dream become reality, the hotel provides everything you need. A driver (with a Rolls-Royce on request) will pick you up and bring you to the hotel where you will enter through a private underground car park with its own separate elevator. You and your guests will have eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms, two lounges for entertaining, a foyer with two private elevators, a spacious dining room, and a restaurant-quality kitchen. If you are in Zürich to do business or are visiting one of their famed medical centers, the Royal Residence comes with a security center and its own medical room.
While in residence, you will also have 24/7 butler and maid service, your own chef, private spa treatments, and a concierge to help make your stay in Switzerland as exciting and inspiring as life is meant to be.